HAVE A HEALTHY WINTER WITH GARLIC
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Garlic can be helpful in warding off a cold.
For centuries, garlic has been extolled not just for its versatility in the kitchen but also for its medicinal powers.
Whatever the reason, studies seem to support an effect. In one double-blind study, published in 2001, British scientists followed 146 healthy adults over 12 weeks from November to February. Those who had been randomly selected to receive a daily garlic supplement came down with 24 colds during the study period, compared with 65 colds in the placebo group. The garlic group experienced 111 days of sickness, versus 366 for those given a placebo. They also recovered faster.
Besides the odour, studies have found minimal side effects, like nausea and rash.
One possible explanation for such benefits is that a compound called allicin, the main biologically active component of garlic, blocks enzymes that play a role in bacterial and viral infections. Or perhaps people who consume enough garlic simply repel others, and thus steer clear of their germs.
In a report this year in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, scientists who examined the science argued that while the evidence was good for garlic's preventive powers, more studies were needed. They pointed out that it was still unclear whether taking garlic at the very start of a cold, as opposed to weeks in advance, would make any difference.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Research is limited but it suggests that garlic may help ward off colds.
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